Craig Stanton 2005 Grand-Am Cup Champion in Race Down to the Wire FONTANA, Calif., October 30, 2004 -- Craig Stanton won the 2004 Grand-Am Cup GS class season championship today in dramatic fashion. Early season predictions had put the Long...
Craig Stanton 2005 Grand-Am Cup Champion in Race Down to the Wire
FONTANA, Calif., October 30, 2004 -- Craig Stanton won the 2004 Grand-Am Cup GS class season championship today in dramatic fashion. Early season predictions had put the Long Beach, Calif.-resident as the clear class of the field for the Grand-Am Cup championship with three victories in the first three races. However, one missed race due to other obligations and one mechanical failure left Stanton trailing entering the season-finale at his home track, California Speedway. In the end, the three hour Grand American Road Racing Association-sanctioned Lexus Grand American 250 proved why Stanton and TheRaceSite.com Racing Team are worthy of the title "champion".
Stanton and teammate David Murry, of Cumming Ga., qualified the No. 43 TheRaceSite.com Racing Porsche 996 on the pole for today's multi-class race. The 2.8-mile, 21-turn California Speedway road course, approximately one hour from Stanton's home, combines portions of the super-speedway and the tight infield road course making it one of the most challenging courses on the circuit. Stanton, who entered the race trailing four points behind former teammate Terry Borcheller, Gainesville, Ga., needed to finish two positions ahead of Borcheller to win the title outright and three to tie. A tie would give the immensely popular Californian his first professional sports car championship as a result of his six wins in ten races. Borcheller had four victories on the year including the three opening rounds in which he co-drove TheRaceSite.com Porsche with Stanton.
Starting the car, Stanton drove off to an early lead and stayed within striking distance throughout the event's first two hours and 15 minutes. For the remaining 45-minutes, Murry took over driving chores with an eye towards assisting his longtime friend and multi-series teammate win the title and his seventh race of the year. A win today would have been Murry's fourth of 2004. However, just 11 laps from the conclusion of the race, TheRaceSite.com entry suddenly slowed and then began spilling fluid onto the track as a result of a broken engine-mount. The mount had dropped the Porsche's six-cylinder boxer engine down to the point that it was rubbing the track surface as Murry nursed the car back into pit lane. The Nonnamaker family-owned TheRaceSite.com Racing Team immediately attacked the car making repairs to the broken mount and refilling the lost fluids. Despite incredible abuse from the fall and the loss of water, the Porsche engine completed the remaining six laps at speed earning Stanton the title. Borcheller would finish 17th, one position short of earning the title outright. Stanton and Murry would finish 13th in class, 22nd overall completing 83 of 89 laps.
The Lexus Grand American 250 will be shown on a tape-delay basis at 5pm (ET), Nov. 7 on SPEED. Stanton will race in the Rolex Series Lexus Grand American 400k at California Speedway on October 31st which can be seen live on SPEED at 4 pm (ET).
(about winning the championship): "This was all about teamwork. TheRaceSite.com guys have been a great, great team. It all starts with the family and goes down from there. Our goal from the first race was to do well in the championship. At about the mid-point of the season we realized that we could win the championship and that became our goal. It's really special, really neat to have a goal, a dream, come true. Everyone was saying it was 'in the bag' but I just told them to 'hold on a minute. Nothing it over until it's over.' And, we had to take it down to the last race, the last lap and literally the last 15 seconds. But, we won it and we did it here in Southern California where I learned to race. That's pretty special for sure. I don't think Hollywood could script it much better than this. This was a movie out there all season long. I'm just glad it was a happy ending. There are so many people that got me here going back to my parents, my brother, my wife Joy, David, all my family and friends, the Nonnamakers, Porsche. I can't begin to thank everyone. There are so many people that are key to making something like this happen. I'm just the guy behind the wheel. Terry gave us a great race this season and it has been fun all season long. A little nervous there at the end but fun. Who would have guessed at Daytona when Terry and I were celebrating together, we would end-up fighting for the title like this?"
(about the race): "What could go wrong? Right? TheRaceSite.com guys really raced hard today. In that last stop to fix the car they were pulling pieces off of other cars and getting ours fixed as quickly as they could. It was about doing what you had to do. Odd as it seems, everything fell into place. What a way to end it! We were all watching the laps because we knew just what we had to beat. David and all the crew guys were working really hard for this. They did just an incredible job to get it repaired and back out there. Then David did exactly what he had to to bring it home. I am just so impressed with these guys. They showed how badly they wanted it. We wanted to come out from the first day racing for the win. We knew we had to. We won the pole and then just stuck to our strategy. We led when we could without abusing the car and let others get around us if we needed to knowing it was a long race. When Terry's car had its problems (the No. 11 had to stop for extensive repairs after an on-track accident), we weren't coasting but we were watching. We kept it up towards the front and, if things had gone differently, we might have made a hard move for the win at the very end. This championship, really goes to the Nonnamaker family and their team. Even when the car came in with the engine almost dragging the ground no one gave up. Not the crew, not David, not myself. That is what desire and true teamwork are all about. I am proud to be working with these guys for sure. What a race! What a year!"
For more on Craig Stanton please visit www.craigstanton.com. Log-on to www.gandwmotorsports.com to learn more about G&W Motorsports. For additional information on TheRaceSite.com Racing team, please visit www.theracesiteracing.com.